Posts Tagged ‘Indiana’

Indiana, make gay marriage legal

In general, I am not down on Indiana. I’m a writer, so I could live anywhere, but I live here because I like it. Some people say that Indiana is “conservative,” perhaps even reactionary, but I don’t really buy it. Our state has certain characteristics that sometimes are misunderstood.

I was especially proud of Indiana when Barack Obama carried the state in November, and I was also proud to be a Hoosier when a proposed ban on gay marriage failed in 2007.

Now here is one of those characteristics: Hoosiers are practical. We have a very good, very practical governor, Mitch Daniels. We have a strong manufacturing base. We have excellent corporations based here. If something looks as though it might get in the way of doing business, it’s likely to fail here. Hence, according to the Purple Pew,

“House Democrats took a stand today against ill-crafted legislation that would have done more harm than good,” Indiana Democratic Dan Parker said. “This wasn’t a vote against traditional marriage; it was a vote for protecting vulnerable Hoosiers and promoting job growth.” (


Several prominent Indiana businesses opposed the amendment for fear it would limit Indiana’s job growth as it would send a message to the nation that Indiana is a state that subscribes to discriminatory practices. The five businesses that opposed the amendment, according to Indiana Equality, are Emmis Communications, Cummins Inc., Dow AgroSciences, WellPoint, Inc., and Eli Lilly.

Emphasis added.

Give big business credit where it’s due: they knew that disincenting gay people from being in Indiana could only do our state economy and themselves grievous harm. This, of course, was not the most noble reason for supporting the ban, but it’s a respectable reason nonetheless. Funny how a “conservative” state like Indiana gave this idiotic bill the air, whereas a “liberal” state like California actually went ahead and banned gay marriage.

The governor makes frequent trips to Asia and elsewhere to attract business and investment, and he does quite a good job. Governor Daniels, in practical Hoosier fashion, should now affirm in our state the natural right of gay people to marry. Showing that Indiana is ahead of the pack in this fashion will not only attract the best and brightest gay persons to participate in our economy and polity; it will be of great benefit to Indiana’s image–the state’s brand image, if you will. And that, too, can only be good for business.

Most importantly, however, it’s the right thing to do. Like Dick Cheney, we all have gay friends and relatives whom we know in our hearts deserve fair and equitable treatment, not to mention equal protection under the law as the 14th amendment requires. It’s time for “conservative” Indiana to take a stand.

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Rouge Political Musings for November 6, 2008

This is not a political blog, but so much of what has just happened in our country affects Spirit that I am impelled to comment somewhat in detail.

About Obama’s victory I will be brief. It is a great thing for our country, for our planet, and for our species. I voted for the man with utmost enthusiasm (i.e., not as the lesser of two evils this time) and think he will be a truly great president.

On NPR yesterday, there was a senior citizen who said he had said to his children (paraphrasing), “Now that Obama had been elected, I think we will find a cure for cancer.” I was struck dumb by the truth contained within this statement. This is how karmic shifts happen. Let me get into this a little deeper here.

I recall seeing a book in a resale shop in 1988 or 1989 called The Miracle of Jimmy Carter (which was of course from 1976). People had high hopes for Carter, and, although I don’t totally agree, the convential wisdom is that Carter was a failure. I had a friend opine to me yesterday that Obama would be “our Jimmy Carter,” to be followed by “our Ronald Reagan.”

But no, Obama is different. Everyone can see the mark of greatness on the man; most of those who oppose him (unlike my friend) don’t fear that he will be ineffective, but rather he will be too effective in going in what they consider the wrong direction. I think it ironic and yet entirely proper that the first African-American president has so many superlative qualities that his historic blackness will be seen, in retrospect, as an attractive yet relatively minor part of the whole he will have offered the nation.

Obama’s election is a great shift for our country–no, I should say for our species. Naturally, the fact that people of all races joined together in choosing him is a very great blow to racism, and yet–there is so much more at work here. Obama’s perhaps greatest gift among many is his ability to channel and mediate the talents and strengths of others (which is to say, leadership, but of an extraordinary kind). He has demonstrated this gift through his many political accomplishments, including his magnificent campaign, maybe the best run in all of world politics to date.

Indiana came through for Obama–that makes me proud.

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On the negative side, California’s Proposition 8 is a disgrace. California? In Indiana, which is supposed to be so conservative, we have already rejected the nonsense of such a constitutional amendment. My friend pointed out to me that one big difference is that the California Supreme Court had its ruling permitting gay marriage, and thus the conservatives or wingnuts or whoever in California were motivated to do the whole Proposition 8 thing. In Indiana, no such situation pertains.

That is true, but other states have already done preemptive strikes, so to speak, of one type or another, and Indiana, to its credit, deep-sixed such an idea without too big a fuss. The argument that seemed to work in Indiana against such appalling bigotry is that a constitutional amendment would scare away gays, who tend to be educated and have money and–oh yes, they have money! It may not be the most altruistic and pure motive of all, but there are worse. Indiana may have its conservative side, but it also knows on which side its bread is buttered.

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